Survey: Most oppose wireless ‘fast lanes’

A survey released by a top Internet industry trade group on Tuesday shows that an overwhelming majority of the public wants new rules on Web service providers to also apply to wireless companies.

The Internet Association survey found that 86 percent of respondents opposed the notion that wireless companies such as Verizon or AT&T should be able to impose “fast lanes” and “slow lanes” on people’s cellphones and tablets.

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Just 8 percent of the people responding to the survey said that wireless companies should be able to speed up or slow down access to specific websites or applications.

“No matter how users choose to connect to the Internet, net neutrality rules should apply universally on both wireless and wireline networks,” trade group chief executive Michael Beckerman said in a statement. “Creating enforceable net neutrality rules that cover both wired and wireless connections ensures that all Americans have access to an uncensored Internet.”

The Internet Association represents major Web companies including Google, Amazon, AOL and Yahoo.

The survey, which covered 550 Americans on Sept. 8, could lend support to the position that new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules on net neutrality — the notion that companies should not be able to block or slow people’s access to particular websites — should cover people accessing the Web through their mobile device as well as on a computer.

The FCC’s previous rules, from 2010, did not cover mobile users, but FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has dropped several hints that this time around wireless companies should be covered.

The wireless industry have fought back, noting that their services are technologically different than cable companies and should not be subject to the same rules.